Public picture taking & The Law

Started Aug 29, 2010 | Discussions thread
RDKirk
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In reply to Bob Walters, Sep 3, 2010

You should comply with any request to leave, but you need not turn over your camera, film, or memory card to the owner, his rent-a-cop, or (except in very unusual circumstances) to a "real" cop and generally speaking these people can't make you give them your gear.

At least in the US, this is an important point. Your images are your personal property. You own them--according to the Supreme Court interpretation of the First Amendment, they are your property just like your car. Police can't confiscate your camera, police can't force you to delete your images.

Police can arrest you, with proper cause (which could be for refusing to obey an order to "move along"), and in the course of arresting you, they can impound your property (car or camera). If connected to a chargeable offense, they could use your images against you in a court of law...but they can't delete them or force you to delete them...that would be destroying evidence, if you're being suspected of having committed a chargeable offense.

A private security officer certainly can't do so. That is Lawsuit City if they take your camera and delete your images.

There are certain circumstances on a military installation in which the military commander can delete your images of certain pre-specified military facilities and equipment types, but you can expect that warning to be posted.

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RDKirk
'TANSTAAFL: The only unbreakable rule in photography.'

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